Writer, artist, sewist
I’m a writer, artist and PhD candidate from Aotearoa New Zealand. I’ve sewn since my mother thought I could sort of safely wield a needle, and rediscovered garment sewing in 2017. In addition to sewing, I like to knit, weave, draw, paint, read, write, and run. I love to sew from indie pattern designers, and have been slowly defining and redefining, and then redefining again what the colours and clothes are I feel most myself in.
What influence does music have in your life as a creative?:
When I’m making—be that artworks, sewing, knitting or otherwise—I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. I need my mind to be occupied by something and then I can let the processual nature of doing-with-my-hands take over. Music accompanies me in two other opposite but linked parts of my life: I listen to music when I write and when I run.
Writing is the place I feel most creative. It’s where I gather my thoughts and emotions and memories and experience and technical skills in a way that requires an almost total concentration of being. Writing requires me to be vulnerable and open. Slower, quieter, gentler songs, songs I know so well I can put them on like a familiar jumper and be fully immersed in them, form the backdrop of writing.
But running requires me to be fully present to my body. Opposite to writing, running helps me to temporarily leave my mind behind. It gives me the mental break from the demands of writing, brings me back into the world and tops me up with new thoughts and new energy. When I run, I want a song that will hook me behind the bellybutton and drag me up that hill, a beat to thump the pavement in time to, a lyric that will have me singing through my breathlessness.
Tell us about your playlist:
Peaks Cols Valleys Sea is a love letter to my adopted hometown Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Wellington. This is a place of stiff winds and steep hills; a ramshackle landscape that exemplifies the perpetual slow-motion-tumble of mountains into seas. This is the place in which I fell hard into a period of depression and anxiety from unprocessed childhood trauma, and where, with therapy and love and friendships, I’m slowly, painstakingly, carefully putting myself back together. Te Whanganui-a-Tara has been the landscape of processing my deepest pains and highest joys, and, in a way that I haven’t experienced before, my most even-keeled contentment.
In this place, sewing, writing and running came into my life and became the mainstays of this processing. Running the hills and rocky coastline brought me back in touch with my body; writing helps give narrative to the cluttered chaos of trauma, and crystalise experience into new forms of beauty; and sewing was a large part of giving me back the confidence to be in the world again.
Some of the songs of Peaks Cols Valleys Sea have been with me for a hundred years, some have only come into my life recently. They all, though, are resonant to me: through a lyric I’ll endlessly mull over, a memory that lifts from its melody, a story they tell, or a beat that inevitably makes me want to dance like the uncoordinated noodle I am. Peaks Cols Valleys Sea is shaped like walking a mountain: it starts slow and low, and climbs to a peak with quick rhythms and strong beats, before descending again into a calmer valley. Peaks Cols Valleys Sea encapsulates the visceral experience of deep connection I feel to Te Whanganui-a-Tara.
- Bird on a Wire – Single from The Great Original Series Soundtrack – Simone Istwa
- Wildfires – SAULT
- Didn’t I – Darondo
- Heartbeats – José González
- Runway – Nadia Reid
- Rich Wife Full Of Happiness – Bonnie Prince Billy
- That’s What’s Up – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
- Don’t Shoot Guns Down – SAULT
- Hey Ya! – Outkast
- Just Can’t Get Enough – Depeche Mode
- King of the World – First Aid Kit
- Disco 2000 – Pulp
- Inní mér syngur vitleysingur – Sigur Rós
- Ain’t Got No – I Got Life – Remastered – Nina Simone
- Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine
- Knotty Pine – Dirty Projectors, David Byrne
- Close To Me – The Cure
- Strange Things – Marlon Williams
- You’re Dead – Norma Tanega
- Mad Tom Of Bedlam – Jolie Holland
- Le temps de l’amour – Fox Medium – Françoise Hardy
- Breathless – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
- Harvest Moon – Neil Young
- Naked as We Came – Iron & Wine
- Haere Mai Rā / Sway – Bic Runga
- Every Time the Sun Comes Up – Sharon Van Etten
- Land Locked Blues – Bright Eyes
- Home, Land and Sea – TrinityRoots
- Gymnopédie No. 1 – Erik Satie, Philippe Entremont
- Outro – TEEKS